Supermarket giant Walmart will start selling Apple's iPhone 3G for $197 as from tomorrow, Sunday 28th, across the majority of their stores in America. The price, which is $2 cheaper than the official retail price, will tie customers into a two year contract with mobile phone network AT&T.
The 8GB model will be the same available elsewhere, thereby ending the rumour of a potential, "Walmartised" iPhone; the move comes as Apple wants to increase the number of outlets where its iPhone is sold as it tries to reach 50 million units sold by end of 2009.
Nearly 2500 US stores (out of 2100 stores) will be offering Apple's iPhone 3G and, according to Walmart, will match advertised iPhone prices of local competitors; the 16GB version will be available for $297. In a press release, the company also announced that it would deploy Apple iPhone 3G kiosks in Walmart Connection center in the Home Entertainment department of Walmart Stores.
The American chain has stopped short of selling Apple's full range of Macbooks and iMacs although it does carry a full range of iPod music players; it is also the second retailer, after Best buy, to sell the iPhone. Best Buy, which happens to be the US Partner of Carphonewarehouse, sells the 8GB iPhone for $180 with the 16GB version costing $100 extra.
Apple's shares rose sharply following the announcement in after hours trading, as the strategic partnership with Walmart could help it reach a new market segment.
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It is unlikely that the Walmart agreement will be extended to territories outside America where Walmart operates like Canada and United Kingdom (Via Asda). But then O2's iPhone costs only £96.89, less than $142, a full 28 percent cheaper than in the US. So it's just a matter of reducing the gap.
2nd UPDATE: Wal-Mart To Sell iPhone 3G Starting Sun At $197
Wal-Mart Will Start Selling Apple's iPhone